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372                            LIFE OF
in which the decisive battle was to be fought. ISTapo-
leon., however, retreated across the Rhine., and Ger-
many was freed from her subjection.
After the battle of Leipzig, Humboldt paid a visit
to Goethe, in Weimar, where Metternich and Harden-
berg had also repaired. Frankfort on the Maine
remained the head-quarters until the end of the year.
Humboldt's office was, during this time, to conclude
treaties with the smaller German states, such as
Bavaria., and partly also with Wurtemberg. "While
the war was still continuing, another peace congress
was to be held at Chatillon on the Seine, and Hum-
boldt was deputed to act in it again as Prussian repre-
The French plenipotentiary at the peace congress
was the Duke de Vicenza, and on the side of the
allied, although the foreign ministers Metternich,
Nesselrode, and Hardenberg were at head~quai"ters,
and Castlereagh was expected, it was determined that
not they, but the diplomatists nearest them in position
and influence, should fill this post. But these diplo-
matists received such decided and consistent instruc-
tions, that they had nothing to do but conscientiously
to act upon them.
Austria still wished to spare Napoleon, but hinted
plainly that it would soon no longer be able to do so.
On the 9th February, the ambassadors of the allied
powers arrived in Chatillon, Austria was represented
by Count Stadion, Russia by Count Kasumoffsky,
England by Lord Aberdeen, Earl 'Cathcart, and
Lieutenant-General Stewart, Prussia by Humboldt,
who watched the interests of his country with his
customary industry and zeal, The communications
which passed between him and Hardenberg, as mi-
nister, were only sent through the safest couriers,
officers or mounted guards, and were always written
by his own hand.
On the 4th February, the ambassadors paid each
other the customary visits, and on the 5th the con-
ferences commenced. The plenipotentiaries of the